In hurricane zones like the Southeastern United States, especially in Florida, you may have noticed businesses promoting a type of shutterless hurricane glass protection called hurricane window film.
What they’re really referring to in this case is actually something called safety and security window film. This type of window film is not approved in Florida as a substitute for hurricane protection products like shutters and storm panels.
Even though it’s not an approved hurricane protection product, safety and security window film can play a role in adding an extra layer of security to your glass doors and windows. Keep reading to find out what the many benefits of security window film are.
Why the Term Hurricane Window Film Is a Misnomer
And Why You Shouldn’t Rely Solely on Window Film for Hurricane Protection
Here’s the real story about hurricane film for windows:
Over the last decade or so, builders and homeowners have been met with increasingly stricter requirements regarding the impact resistance of window glass and the hurricane mitigation barriers installed during remodels and new construction.
Because of this, some companies saw an opportunity to start advertising safety and security window film as hurricane window film, when in fact many reputable manufacturers of these types of films clearly state that it is not meant to be relied upon for hurricane protection.
The below notice is straight from the 3M™ website (the manufacturers of the safety and security window film we supply):
“This product is not approved in the State of Florida for use as hurricane, windstorm or impact protection from wind-borne debris from a hurricane or windstorm.
In compliance with Florida Statute 553.842, this product may not be advertised, sold, offered, provided, distributed or marketed in the State of Florida as hurricane, windstorm or impact protection from wind-borne debris from a hurricane or windstorm.”
All this is not to say that security window film doesn’t have any merits. It DOES add a layer of security to your glass that can increase the safety of you and your property during a storm.
So, how can you use security window film for hurricane protection? To explain that let’s take a closer look at how these types of films work and what they are designed to do.
Using Window Film to Keep Glass Intact During a Storm
First off, it’s important to understand exactly what window films like 3M™ safety and security window film are made of and how they’re installed. These types of films are really a pliable polyester mylar coating that gets applied right to the surface of your existing glass.
Security window film DOES NOT prevent glass from breaking and is not a cheap alternative to real impact-resistant glass like laminated security glass. However, the film can hold broken shards of glass in place and help a glass door or window retain its shape after an impact.
During a storm with high-speed winds, window film can prevent sharp shards of glass flying dangerously inwards towards you and anyone else sheltering inside the building. It can also help keep out rainwater and storm debris by holding the broken glass in place.
This means that you’ll still have to replace broken glass after a storm, but you may avoid injuries and water damage because of the effects of the installed window film.
That being said, if you live in a hurricane zone, you should always have other hurricane mitigation barriers ready to go. Whether those are good old fashioned plywood boards or roll-down metal shutters, window film is no substitute for the strength of those barriers.
Key takeaways about using security film for storm protection:
- Can prevent shards of glass from flying dangerously inwards
- Can help broken glass doors and windows retain their shape
- Is NOT a substitute for approved hurricane barriers like shutters
- DOES NOT prevent glass from breaking under impact
- Can reduce the risk of personal injury and water damage to property
Are There Any Other Benefits of Window Film?
Why You Should Consider Installing Window Film for Storm Protection and More
Now that you have a better understanding of the role that security films can play in strengthening your window glass during a storm, you might be wondering if there are any other benefits it can provide. The answer is yes!
Here are some of the other ways window film can improve the performance of your glass:
- Deter forced entry
- Add privacy
- Block UV rays
- Reduce glare
- Control heat
- Reduce energy use
Deter Forced Entry
The same properties that make security films a good option to prevent flying shards of glass and help glass doors and windows also make them an effective deterrent to forced entry attempts.
When a would-be intruder attempts to smash through a panel of glass to gain entry to your property, they’ll be surprised to see that it doesn’t immediately shatter inwards like standard window glass does.
Though it won’t stop a determined intruder from eventually breaking through the glass, the delay and surprise caused by the film can cause the criminal to think twice about continuing their break-and-enter attempt and move on to find an easier target.
Standard security films are clear, but window tinting can also be applied using films to darken your windows or make them reflective for added daytime privacy.
This is not only great for making ground floor rooms more private, but also adds more security to your property by making it harder for prowlers to see what’s on the other side of your window glass.
Block UV Rays and Reduce Glare
Many types of films also have UV blocking properties that prevent up to 99.9% of the sun’s harmful UV rays from passing through your windows.
These rays that can damage your skin are the same rays that cause furnishings placed near windows to fade over time. UV blocking films drastically slow the effects of fading.
Additionally, glare blocking films can be used to reduce the amount of glare coming through your windows. This is great if you want to make it more comfortable to look at a computer or TV screen near sunny windows.
Control Heat and Reduce Energy Use
There are also special heat blocking films and low-e, or low-emissivity, window films available. These can be used to make indoor temperatures more comfortable and reduce your use of HVAC systems to lower your monthly utility bill.
The enhanced climate control provided by certain types of films can be a real lifesaver (and money saver) in the hot and humid Southeastern climate!
If you take one thing away from this article, let it be a warning not to believe anyone trying to tell you that they have some type of magical hurricane film for windows. No film eliminates the need for other storm damage mitigation barriers.
We also want to stress that security window films DO have many beneficial properties that can make your glass doors and windows less vulnerable to storm damage and other threats, as well as enhance the overall performance of your glass.
Contact us today for more information about how we can help you strengthen your home or business security with our window films and other security glass products.